Vanderhall drops power and doors into its latest three-wheeled street bullet
When you build boutique open-air three-wheelers, you can afford to leave behind many of the features common in more traditional passenger cars. In fact, buyers probably demand it. But eventually you might find it necessary to sprinkle in a few of those little luxuries ... like doors. Utah's Vanderhall Motor Works adds a pair of doors on its all-new Carmel, a three-wheeled roadster that also includes a lighter, more powerful engine, 19-in wheels and high-performance brakes.
Vanderhall has been on an absolute tear the past three years, firing out a total of four autocycle models, from the range-topping carbon-fiber Laguna, to the more affordable Venice, to the all-electric Edison2 , to the one-seat Speedster. The Carmel makes it an even five.
Based on the Venice, Vanderhall's volume leader, the 2019 Carmel adds a set of wicked suicide doors to make entry and exit a little easier. Like the Venice, the 1,595-lb (723-kg) Carmel seats two between its single rear wheel and dual front wheels.
The Carmel shares a mono-aluminum chassis and ABS composite body with the Venice, but it strays in its powertrain, leaving behind GM's iron-block 1.4-liter I-4 turbo in favor of a front-mounted aluminum-block turbo four paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. This change boosts power up to 200 hp (from 180 hp) and cuts engine weight, helping to somewhat offset the extra weight of the doors and other additions.
All said, the Carmel has a little extra power-to-weight, with 7.9 lb (3.6 kg) to each horsepower versus the Venice's 8.6 lb-to-hp (3.9 kg-to-hp). It doesn't gain any performance, but it does maintain the same 4.5-second 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) time while losing 2 mph on its 138-mph (222-km/h) top speed.
If the addition of doors isn't an overwhelming amount of automotive luxury, you might also like the fact that Vanderhall has constructed the Carmel to accommodate an optional air conditioning system and removable roof. High-performance four-piston brakes come standard, as do 19-in wheels with Z-rated tires.
Other standard equipment includes a pushrod front suspension with coil-over hydraulic shocks, a swing-arm coil-over hydraulic rear suspension, power steering, anti-lock brakes, traction control, heated seats, cabin heating and a Bluetooth stereo system.
The Carmel made its public debut at the recent AIMExpo. It will go on sale in 2019 for a starting price of US$39,950, which is a $10,000 premium over the Venice. And if you're thinking Vanderhall will slow down now that it has five models on the road, stop that thought in its tracks – the Vanderhall website teases a number of upcoming products like the Edison 4 and Venice R.